Christian Solutions to Racism

by | Oct 3, 2022

Christian Solutions to Racism? Christians are fond of using the word “Christian” as an adjective. It’s more than branding. The motivation can be right. For example, Christian health care sharing ministries may sound gimmicky at first hearing until we think about what they may or, more importantly, may not cover. To call something Christian is to say that Christians approach an issue in a uniquely Christ-like way. What about engaging racism?

Christians agree racism is bad. But we disagree about its prevalence, its causes, what to do about it, and how we go about doing something.

I want to consider that last question, and I want to emphasize two truths about love that must always guide us when  oppose racism:

 

1. Christian Love Is More Than Not Sinning Against Our Neighbor

At root, ethnic partiality is a failure to love one’s neighbor. It can take many forms from outright hostility to neglect. But ridding ourselves of racism is not the end goal. Scripture teaches that a lack of love is a fatal flaw which undoes any number of otherwise good works (1 Corinthians 13:1–3).

There are structural injustices which need to be corrected. People spend lots of time working on that, and that is a good thing. This must be done, and for the Christian this ought to be propelled by love for neighbor.

But making abstract love concrete in our day-to-day lives is where the rubber meets the road. We should not think only in terms of eradicating racism. If that was our goal and we miraculously succeeded, it is possible to do so without love. If we are aware of ethnic partiality in our own lives, we should ruthlessly root it out. But we cannot stop there. Because partiality is a failure to love, we ought to, well, love.

Love doesn’t work very well in the abstract. Abstract love is no love at all. Love requires its sights to be set on other people. Has ethnic partiality slanted the way you love others? If so, that’s not the unforgivable sin. But like any other sin, we must repent and turn to God by turning our capacity to love away from self and on to others that we once sinned against.

 

2. Christian Love Guides Our Methods

Sometimes our assumption is that God has told us what to do (such as, “Love your neighbor as yourself” [Luke 10:25–37]), but not necessarily how to do it. While there may be some truth to that, Scripture has much to say about how we conduct ourselves. When God’s word tells us to be patient, kind, humble, slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to take offense (1 Corinthians 13:4), those commands are not limited to particular situations. There is no asterisk to say, “Except when engaging those who disagree about race.”

Not only must our speech be governed by love, so must our actions. We exhibit trust in God by not compromising our integrity. We do not resort to deceptive or underhanded tactics. We do not try to misrepresent, deceive, or trick our opponents.

These seem like elementary principles which could almost be assumed rather than stated. But if you consistently apply them, you will stand out, even amongst those who claim the name of Christ.

If we are going to put Christ’s name on something, we ought to make sure we bring it no shame. Let us not cheapen the reputation of our Lord for branding purposes or to win arguments. Justice is too important to trust to anyone but God, so let’s pursue it in the ways He has prescribed, by loving our neighbors as ourselves.

 

Originally Published: April 1, 2021

 

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that God would show you worldly thinking which has crept into your theology.
  2. Pray that God gives us a firm trust in Him that does not falter when we encounter unkindness.
  3. Pray that God’s people would stick out like a sore thumb for how kind we are.

Recent POdcasts

The Role of Prayer with Carl and Karen Ellis

The Role of Prayer with Carl and Karen Ellis

Austin and Isaac were blessed to be joined in the lab by Carl and Karen Ellis. Carl is a Professor at RTS, Atlanta, and Karen is a writer and lecturer. Together, they lead the Edmiston Center for the Bible and Ethnicity. We wanted to have Karen on to teach us about...

read more
Our Identity in Christ with Dr. Robert Smith, Jr.

Our Identity in Christ with Dr. Robert Smith, Jr.

Isaac sits down with a living legend, Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. Dr. Smith is Professor of Preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Smith is a black man who has lived through racism and division, but has not allowed it to define him. As Isaac...

read more
Who is Discipling You on Race?

Who is Discipling You on Race?

Isaac and Austin are joined in the studio by Josh Chatman, Jared Torrence, DeMyron Haynes, and John Talley. As we were sitting around and talking with the mics off, someone asked the question, "who do you think is discipling most people on race, and what role does the...

read more

Upcoming Events

Isaac-Adams-United-We-Pray-speaking-at-an-event

Click Here to View Now

Recent Articles

The Readiness Spectrum

The Readiness Spectrum

Diversity is such an amazing aspect of our society. Many institutions, schools, workplaces, and even churches are coming to understand the value of diversity and are seeking to hire minorities for leadership positions. There are many reasons why there has been an...

read more
Sitting At The Wrong Lunch Table

Sitting At The Wrong Lunch Table

In her book Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? (New York: Basic, 1997), psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum discusses the concept of racial identity development. First published nearly 25 years ago, she sought to help readers understand the...

read more
I Don’t Date Asians

I Don’t Date Asians

“I’m not attracted to Asian guys.” It’s a simple phrase, seemingly innocent enough, but many Asian Americans have heard it or have had similar sentiments expressed towards them. And they certainly can resonate with the stinging pain that such sentiments bring about....

read more

We’d love to hear what you think about this article. Submit your feedback by clicking here to contact us.

Author

  • Austin Suter

    Austin is the executive director and editor for U?WP. He is a husband, father and seminary student at RTS Charlotte. Austin is a member at Iron City Church in Birmingham, AL. @amsuter

Related Articles

Sitting At The Wrong Lunch Table

Sitting At The Wrong Lunch Table

In her book Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? (New York: Basic, 1997), psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum discusses the concept of racial identity development. First published nearly 25 years ago, she sought to help readers understand the...

read more
I Don’t Date Asians

I Don’t Date Asians

“I’m not attracted to Asian guys.” It’s a simple phrase, seemingly innocent enough, but many Asian Americans have heard it or have had similar sentiments expressed towards them. And they certainly can resonate with the stinging pain that such sentiments bring about....

read more

Stay Connected